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Marketing ploys irritate the hell out of consumers.

Byline: By Sue Wilson

Not many years ago, the only junk mail I received was subscription offers from Reader's Digest.

I didn't mind too much and I used to read them thoroughly before chucking them out.

And, anyway, I had a closet fondness for the publication, having grown up with lame jokes from Laughter is the Best Medicine.

When preparing for my first graduate job interviews, however, we were all told that, if we were asked what we read, never, but NEVER, say the Reader's Digest.

But its jokes are still the only ones I can ever remember.

Later, it was Which magazine bombarding my mail box and I used to marvel at the sort of consumers who would do such impressive research.

Didn't they ever want to live a little and buy on impulse? The Littlewood Pools offerings struck more of a chord with me but I didn't understand them and would idle away time by shading in the boxes.

Those were the good old days.

Nowadays we are bombarded by the stuff as it is shovelled through the letterbox so persistently my welcome doormat is permanently dyslexic and every rental property in the land has an obstructed entrance hall.

I seldom open such mail and occasionally return it to sender with "deceased" on the envelope.

Sometimes it comes in handy for removing rodent carcases left during the night by my generous feline friends but most direct mail just goes directly in the recycling bin.

It is irritating, unnecessary, a waste of trees, a contribution to the landfill problem and often badly targeted. Whoever invented post codes has a lot to answer for.

And it doesn't stop there. I turn on my mobile and there is an annoying text message.

My e-mail in-box is full of spam exhorting me to try viagra or penis enlargement. On the internet I am constantly closing pop-ups, banners and skyscrapers to see the screens I want to access.

I shake my newspaper over the bin to dispose of the inserts which generally by the end of the day will be littering the streets.

The phone rings and a semi-coherent teenager starts reading from a sales script or surveys my replies to which will be of no use whatsoever.

Before I know it, it is teatime and I can prepare to settle down to nine minutes of advertising an hour on TV.

And none of these assaults will have affected my purchasing decisions in any way. I may be battle-weary but I am also battle-hardened, having survived so many campaigns.

The marketing industry has exciting technology at its disposal but somewhere along the way it stopped trying to understand the customers and started irritating the hell out of them. The availability of new toys for the industry seems to have stifled creativity and led to detachment from the consumer.

Nowadays if a marketing manager says he wants to get close to the customer, I'd advise caution. He might come back with a bloody nose.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 21, 2003
Words:500
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